EDA grant and matching funds totaling $675,000 will be deployed to catalyze investment in high growth potential startups in the booming Orlando-Tampa tech corridor
ORLANDO, Fla. – December 18, 2018 – StarterStudio, the nonprofit startup hub based in Orlando, Fla., announced today that the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded the nonprofit, along with Tampa Bay Wave (Wave), a grant including matching funds of $675,000 to support startup creation, innovation, and commercialization.
The funding will be used to help launch the I-4 Innovation Investors Collaborative (I4I2), a regional investor collaborative focused on directly addressing the region’s funding gaps for early-stage startups with high potential for growth.
Two regional, private early-stage funds, Kirenaga Partners and Stage 1 Ventures, participated in winning the grant and will be key partners in the implementation and performance of the Collaborative. Matching funds were contributed by the two funds along with the Vinik Family Foundation, Tampa Electric, and University of Central Florida.
I4I2 plans are threefold: 1) leverage established seed/early-stage funds and accelerators to launch a seed fund model to serve Central Florida’s innovative startups; 2) educate regional accredited investor prospects about innovation-based investment opportunities to expand the region’s investor pool; and 3) pilot a minimum of 30 investments by accelerator seed funds in the I4I2 collaborative and deploy at least $2 million during the three-year grant life.
“We are very excited to be a part of this grant opportunity that connects two of the strongest tech startup organizations in our region,” said Donna Mackenzie, Executive Director of StarterStudio. “The importance of seed-stage funding to a startup’s success—and to our region’s success as a nexus for innovation—cannot be overstated. Our two organizations and our partners in the Collaborative are just the organizations to create real change and lasting impact on our region.”
Part of a national initiative of the EDA, focused on seed fund support, the funding provides for technical assistance and operational costs that support the feasibility, planning, formation, launch or scale of cluster-based seed funds that invest their capital in startups with potential for high growth.
Sixteen other entities received the grant, with I4I2 being the only organization in Florida.
StarterStudio is a pioneering hub for innovative and tech-enabled entrepreneurs that empowers and provides resources for entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators to begin, grow, and flourish in Florida. Through community education programs, accelerators, funding, and collaborative work spaces, StarterStudio fosters a community—serving as a platform for the ideas of the future. For more information about StarterStudio, visit https://www.starterstudio.org/.
StarterStudio is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Per the IRS, bequests, devises, transfers, and gifts to the fund are tax deductible.